Air Interdiction Agents are among the most skilled and respected pilots in the commercial, military and law enforcement arenas. These pilots and support professionals are critical in maintaining the security of America’s borders. They conduct flights in fixed wing aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles to ensure that terrorists, smugglers and illegal aliens do not enter the United States.
Whether during war or peace time, Air Interdiction Agents are critical elements in the defense against those foreign individuals, group and nations bent on damaging or weakening the United States. By maintaining a watchful readiness on the air, ground and seas that encircle America, Air Interdiction Agents provide early warning to Border Patrol teams and partner agencies about gathering threats.
Air Interdiction Agents command almost 300 aircraft including:
- Orion P-3B AEW
- Orion P-3 Long Range Tracker
- Bombardier DHC-8Q200
- Cessna 550 Citation II
- Pilatus PC-12
- Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk
- MQ-9 Predator B Unmanned Aircraft System
Air Interdiction Agent Job Description
While in the air, these agents conduct air to air, air to water and air to ground interdiction of unauthorized personnel and conveyances. Air Interdiction Agents also gather intelligence, provide air support and monitor activities of illegal personnel.
The responsibilities associated with Air Interdiction Agent jobs include
- Maintaining a readiness posture along America’s borders and shorelines—Air Interdiction Agents are the lead in detecting gathering threats, criminal incursions and illegal entry.
- Conducting law enforcement operations—In order to detect and prevent illegal activity along U.S. borders, agents maintain a constant vigil of 6.000 miles of ground and almost 2.000 miles of shoreline.
- Collect and distribute intelligence—Law enforcement and national security personnel depend on the information gathered through aerial reconnaissance and pursuit.
- High-speed logistical operations—In the course of major law enforcement or anti-terrorist operations, personnel and equipment may need to be transported with great speed or secrecy.
- Provide testimony during legal proceedings—As law enforcement officers, agents are often required to provide personal or expert testimony during a trial or legal proceeding.
- Liaison with other national air agencies—To ensure America’s safety, Air Interdiction Agents may need to operate in the air space of its neighbors. In order to receive authorization from these foreign governments, pilots may need to communicate directly with foreign agencies.
Salary and Career Prospects
There are wide range of factors that may affect the annual salary of an Air Interdiction Agent including job title, years of experience and geographical location. According to recent postings by the Department of Homeland Security, the salary ranges for the Air Interdiction Agents are as follows
- Supervisory CBP Air Interdiction Agent: $84,697-$110,104
- Supervisory CBP Air Interdiction Agent (Course Instructor): $96,690-$125,695
- Aircraft/Airplane/Helicopter Pilot: $54,494-$70,843
- Unmanned Aircraft Pilot: $59,158-$64,729
Air Interdiction Agents can obtain higher salaries through work on Sundays or holidays. These CBP professionals may receive higher salaries through promotions as well. As federal employees, Air Interdiction Agents also receive health, life and disability insurance. There is a generous paid leave system that scales up as years of service accrue. Air Interdiction Agents have the option of full retirement with benefits after 20 years of service.
For more information on how to become an air indiction agent, click here.